Video of the Week: Refuting Way of the Master Anti-Evolution Video


DonExodus2 series refuting the Way of the Master Evolution video
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DonExodus2 is a evolutionary biology student and Christian who makes posts on YouTUBE about evolution and Creationist propaganda. Like others, he discovered gross inaccuracies, dishonesty, and outright lies in the Way of the Master videos by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron.

Mill Avenue Resistance Reports: Saturday, December 13th 2008

The Mill Avenue Resistance reports are written by Kyt Dotson as an extension of anthropological research on the population of Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona. Since the SFTS does their protests Friday and Saturday there are two reports a week. The supporting material not related to the Resistance reports can be found on the Under the Hills blog for Saturday, December 13th 2008.

As promised I went around and tried to ask as many people as I could about Temple at the Center of Time. Insofar, nobody in the Way of the Master group know what it is. I am thinking that Kazz and others will just have to read it as per Ross’s suggestion to know what it is. I am going to expand my search for critiques to tell everyone what it’s about, but I find it doubtful that many know. It seems to be an extremely fringe philosophical treatise.

The Resistance arrived on Mill at about 7pm, but I didn’t get there to observe until around 8:50pm.

JustStopAndThink.com

This group set up in front of the entrance to the Mill Ave Drum Circle again tonight between the Valley Art Theater and My Big Fat Greek Restaurant. Informally known as “Jesus Water” in the vulgar argot of the street rats, they interact with the public by offering free water to the masses.

I believe that Joe stopped and talked to Rob-roy and the retelling of his experience went something along the lines of. “He was cordial, but that stiffened rather after he learned that I was an atheist.” Although, I don’t know how much of that was transference; I don’t doubt that the conversation was readily friendly. Rob-roy is a contributor to the StreetFishing blog on Blogspot.

They manage their evangelism by talking to people who squeeze between them to reach the drum circle and also those walking past on the street. Especially those they invite in to receive the free water. Also, the water bottles contain tracts on their labels. The street rats tend to take them and then shred the labels off, meaning that I’ve never gotten one of my own from them yet—also as I never really need water I don’t feel the need to countenance taking one and then not using it.

I don’t end up talking to them very often, but they definitely have a presence on Mill Ave.

Marcus and Tish

(I hope that I am spelling everyone’s names correctly here.)

Also standing with the JustStopAndThink people handing out water were two others whom I’m sure that the Resistance have met before as they created a YouTUBE video involving them.

Didn’t have much time to talk to them, they were mostly handing out tracts. Our conversation did get interrupted a few times by a brand new drum circle visitor who is having a little bit of trouble integrating herself into the community. Mostly I just chatted to get my observations down.

The Way of the Master Evangelicals

The Resistance arrived in front of Borders. Saw Suzanne, her daughter, Erin, Al, Edwin, and others; the group ended up dismantling far earlier than usual; but there were some highlights here and there with the sound system setup. They caroled for a little while in front of Borders and then the Resistance set up their speaker and played some Edward Current videos.

There was some commentary about music vs. music playing. Al had set his speaker to play some sort of music, but then Kazz started playing something else, but seemingly louder (from where I was standing.) Creating a bit of a dissonance. However, that whole thing resolved rather quickly.

Then a few moved away from Borders to the Post Office—Edwin and Brian—but the moment the Resistance decided to move to the Post Office they left, with the words, “Oh it’s you guys.” Pretty much they managed to speak for a while, found at least one really drunk guy, who they tried to get to do the Good Person Test but he was a bit … drunk.

The night wrapped itself up in front of Urban Outfitters with mostly Al speaking on the microphone. He managed to stick the entire night out until the Resistance packed up near 1am.

We also had the weird experience of receiving some Pop-it microexplosives from a newcomer. And I must admit, it was me who distributed them to people because they are an awesome little device and a lot of fun. I did not do it to disrupt Al and his preaching, but at the time that I handed them out he wasn’t really speaking to people except in small groups.

Hanna, who gave me the Pop-its, said to Kazz that she had her respect for humanity restored when she found people resistance the preachers and had visited the STFS table at ASU a few times. I, for one, enjoy the presence of fun wackiness for Mill Ave.

There was also some strange shouting and shrieking from the Resistance when someone yelled “The power of Christ compels you!” at Kazz and the response was … interesting. I hadn’t known that he could produce such a lifelike impression of those TV evangelist preachers who tend to shout, in a drawling voice, pretty much the same thing.

I guess that they are just easy to parody.

Mill Avenue Resistance: Saturday, November 15th 2008

The Mill Avenue Resistance reports are written by Kyt Dotson as an extension of anthropological research on the population of Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona. Since the SFTS does their protests Friday and Saturday there are two reports a week. The supporting material not related to the Resistance reports can be found on the Under the Hills blog for Saturday, November 15th 2008.

The nightly Saturday action-pack of the Way of the Master preachers has come to us again in the form of Al, Edwin, Erin, and Sean—I am missing a few but there wasn’t much going on tonight to speak of. Jim also came around in his wheelchair but we didn’t have much of a chance to speak when he did so.

They split themselves across the Ave between a spot at Borders (and across the street in front of the parking-lot formerly known as Long Wong’s) and the Post Office. The SFTS split themselves also accordingly. Setting up originally in front of the P.O. but then eventually heading over to set up in front of Borders. This is partially because while the preachers pitched in front of the P.O. at first, they did make a mass exodus and then gathered in front of Borders.

For the most part tonight Rocco and Joe dominated the speaker.

Rocco by presenting a strong, staunchly logical presentation; not accepting bad or un-cited messages, pointing out fallacies of bare assertion. A favorite that he uses is about the assertion that the Bible is inerrant because of the number of prophecies fulfilled—an thing possibly acceptable as long as those prophecies are not fulfilled by the Bible itself; because it’s provenance cannot be proven. (To explain: if there are prophecies in my history and I write a book speaking after-the-fact, I can say that they were fulfilled in my book and as long as my writings are not corroborated my assertions are not meaningful.) So the destruction of Tyre is brought up, as prophesized by Ezekiel. Except that it never happened.

Tyre was never destroyed—and still exists today.1

It is not uncommon for the evangelicals to attempt to use prophecy in their holy book as a proper and right resource to say that it is true. This has never been a good idea because of those prophecies that could be corroborated by history (i.e. by sources outside of the Bible) they are often shown to be either false, too vague to be trusted, or of a language that couldn’t be tested for truth anyway.

Joe chose to argue the depths of the philosophy and the flaws that it opens up. With his background in Catholicism he also uses Biblical scripture. His discussions tended around arguments that managed both morality and evidence in differing segments. Sean, of course, never quite listens to what’s being said to him. He is, however, a far better listener than Jeremiah.

Sean said, “There is more evidence for Jesus Christ than there is about George Washington, the first President of the United States.”

Sometimes these evangelicals say things that are so absolutely knowable as wrong that it’s hard not to mention them. There are thousands of corroborated documents to the existence of George Washington, even original manuscripts of his own writing still survive. We have paintings of the man created during the time he was alive along with other figures also corroborated. None of these things are true of the Christian god, Jesus Christ.

To say a thing like this a person must be staggeringly ignorant of not just the historical provenance of George Washington, but has to be totally ignorant of all modern knowledge of what we know historically about the history of the mythological figure of Jesus—who didn’t get written about in any sort of document until long after he would have lived.

When people wed their mythology as tightly as they can to empirical evidence and reality they set themselves up to be disappointed in some terrible ways. It is this sort of behavior that creates apostates and crisis in their very own congregations—because at some point, a lot like children discovering that Santa Claus is “just an idea,” people will discover that Jesus doesn’t have a lot of corroborating evidence.

What is a spectacle?

It is not the design of these evangelicals to actually convert anyone. They might believe in their minds that this is what they are doing, spreading their mythology, but they have been marginalized into something less substantial and more surface instead. Their behavior is almost wholly spectacle and not conversant.

When on their soap-boxes they do not converse, and they do not convert. They yell at passersby, present them with barely-quandaries, and instead puff themselves up in their own regard. The effect of a spectacle is to present yourself against the world, it deepens the bonds of the group through shared activity. They present themselves, their holy book, and their thoughts together in a sort of open-air echo-chamber where they do not hear and do not listen to the criticism leveled at them.

In order to provide a particularly effective spectacle they gather crowds, then they revert to their mirror-speech, absorb the catcalls as part of their performance, and then go on. It is in fact our very own little side-show for Mill.

The effect it has for them is one of bonding. It gives them something to do on a Saturday. A way to make each other see that they have worked at what they are about, providing their mandate, but it has little to no real effect on the world. It may also work as a sort of release-valve for their tensions over the week, a chance to speak their minds into the microphone and let them breathe out.

This is a lot of the reason why week after week extremely ignorant things get said. Especially things that could be corrected after five minutes of simple research—even things that get corrected by passersby, the STFS, and others every week. Mirror-speech is an unbreakable bubble designed to provide a sort of armor against criticism; but it also armors a person from enlightening themselves to the actuality of what they’re talking about.

People who agree with them while walking past will smile to themselves and chuckle; those who disagree will always shake their head; and those who don’t care will continue not to care.

The only effective part of the evangelism that has been brought to Mill Ave is the one-on-one speeches done by preachers to individuals. The speakers presenting themselves through the amplifications are only a spectacle to gather that crowd.